Alina Szapocznikow

20 October 2017 - 28 January 2018

Alina Szapocznikow

This will be the first UK retrospective of the work of the much-overlooked Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow (1926 - 1973), whose elaborately constructed sculptures remain as powerfully resonant today as when they were first made.

Szapocznikow’s career was cut short by her premature death in 1973 at the age 47 but her work has been reappraised internationally in the last decade. A chronological display will highlight how the artist’s work developed from classically figurative sculptures to her later “awkward objects” which are politically charged and overlaid with Surrealist and Pop Art influences.

The exhibition will include works incorporating Szapocznikow’s characteristic use of cast body parts, many of which she transformed into everyday objects like lamps or ashtrays.

It will feature over 50 works created between 1956 and 1972 including sculpture, drawings, and photography, the exhibition draws on loans from private and public collections, including major institutions in Poland.

Szapocznikow radically reconceptualized sculpture as an imprint not only of memory but also of her own body, related to her traumatic experiences during WWII, as a Polish Jew, imprisoned for over 10 months in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.

After the war Szapocznikow trained as a sculptor in Prague and later in Paris where she first came into contact with the work of artists such as Jean Arp, Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore. She returned to Poland in 1951 and represented her country in the 1962 Venice Biennale.


  • 20 October 2017 - 28 January 2018